The term "biodegradable" has been used over the past few years, to describe plastics or packaging that could potentially be metabolized by microorganisms in nature, with complete breakdown to CO2/Methane, water and biomass. However, there is significant confusion and controversy surrounding biodegradable plastics since many suppliers have used the term to loosely describe their material/packaging without specifying the conditions under which the material would degrade in nature. For instance, some plastics (like PLA) will only degrade under industrial composting conditions, while some others (like PHA) can break down under a wider range of conditions and environments (industrial, backyard, marine). Given this widespread confusion and the misuse of the "biodegradable" term, many global government and industry organizations have issued guidelines to restrict or eliminate the unqualified use of biodegradable as a descriptor of plastics or packaging. These include the European Commission guidelines (European Plastics Strategy) and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides in the US.
In line with such guidelines, Ubuntoo's recommends that companies providing biodegradable materials, products or packaging:
1.Avoid unqualified use of the term "biodegradable" to describe their products
2.Any claim of biodegradability should be accompanied by a description of specific conditions and environments under which the material or product will undergo degradation in nature
3.It is strongly recommended that companies provide globally accepted certifications or testing for various biodegradability claims (such as the BPA certification for industrial composting)
Further in line with the position articulated by the European Commission as well as major CPG companies, Ubuntoo recommends that "biodegradable" plastics should not be considered a solution for littering (or worse a license to litter). Appropriate collection and end-of-life solutions (such as industrial composting or home composting) need to be put into place to avoid biodegradable plastics ending up as litter in the environment.
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France based company, Plast'if works towards recycling the plastic waste and transforming it into useful objects.
In France, each person produces 600 kg of waste every year, most of which is buried or burned, causing important damage to the soil, air and oceans. 4.7 billion cups are used every year in France. 150 cups are discarded every second and only 1% of cups are recycled. On average only 14.22% of waste is recycled in Paris, while the national average is 35%. To fight this, Plast'if came up with a machine that recycles all plastic waste of the employees in a company and allows them to 3D print new objects from that waste.
The material used for 3D printing is probably the most important part when talking about its sustainability. There’s no doubt about the fact employees will love having a 3D printer in their offices. It will enable them to print out the products they need on demand. The process works as follows:
The plastic waste is inserted.
The plastic waste is then analysed by the A.I. system and automatically sorted by type.
The plastic is shredded and transformed into 3D filament.
Then there is a choice of 3D design to print from the catalog displayed on the touch screen: objects for the employee (computer support), objects for community for partnerships (Prosthetics), objects you can print during team building sessions (furniture), and objects for design purposes to be used in at design schools.
Their aim of Plast'if is to change the perspective of recycling and help employees to see that plastic is a resource and that every employee can make a difference by using this machine. The technology is already enabling companies to prototype faster and the prototyping facility allows companies to produce refined products that are more responsive to customer needs.
Cassandra holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Global Strategic Management from McGill University. She has also completed her Master's degree in Entrepreneurship from HEC Paris. She has previously worked with Weave which is a Parisian consulting firm specialized in strategic operational management, TEDxMcGill as its President, Boutique François Beauregard and Nubio Paris.